The Most Important Climate Action You Can Take? We Asked Paul Hawken

Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, is Paul Hawken’s new book that suggests a radical reconsideration of how humans understand and interact with the rest of the natural world is needed.

  • Hawken discusses how the landscape of the climate crisis has shifted in the last few years, highlighting the expansion of youth-led climate movements and accessible and cost-effective renewables. According to Hawken a key obstacle to the success of these lies in corrupt governments and, even more insidious than this, the inequalities that continue to underpin how our societies function.

  • Regeneration is defined by Hawken as “placing life at the centre of every action and decision” moving away from an extractive mindset and toward a regenerative one. Some questions he offers the reader to help unpack what this means for themselves include: “Does it heal the future or steal the future?” and “Does it promote fundamental human rights or deny them?”.

  • A core part of Hawken’s exploration of regeneration as a concept centres on intersectional equity in climate activism.  He emphasises that the wellbeing and safety of all members of a society is one of the most glaringly obvious forms of climate justice that we can attain.

  • Hawken also suggests a radical shift in climate solutions rhetoric, pointing out that ‘fighting’ climate change unconsciously reinforces the fallacy of human separation from nature which is a central tenet of the economic and cultural beliefs that got us into this mess in the first place.  This is summed up beautifully in his response to how we can ‘combat’ climate change. Hawken responds: ” The first thing is to eliminate the idea of combat, that this is a fight. Anytime we use those types of verbs we are “othering” nature and, in this case, the exquisite, complex interactions amongst the biosphere and atmosphere, a system that brings about food, beauty, water, speciation, seasons and hummingbirds. What we want to do is bring human action in alignment with biology. This is harmony, not a battle. Climate is an expression of the biology of the Earth, not something out there somewhere. Nature never makes a mistake. We do.”

  • Finally, Hawken asserts that  the most underrated tools for climate action are “the human heart, mind and imagination”. That is, if our minds (and cultures) have created this sense of separation from nature, then it is in our minds, hearts and cultures that a radical shift is needed.  This is an empowering reminder that, whilst humans are responsible for the destruction of the earth, there also lies within us the potential for aiding the earth’s innate healing capacity. That there is space for us as individuals and collectives to engage in action that creates more kindness, compassion, humility and harmony. Read the article in full here.

Featured image is of an organic farm in the USA. 

Photographer: Peter Essick Agency: Cavan Source: Climate Visuals.org

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